How good to read the recent media statement from the Minister of Foreign Affairs announcing a programme of electoral assistance, development assistance and the easing of some of the sanctions in Fiji to support progress toward elections next year.
The hard line approach to Fiji by successive NZ Governments over many years has cost NZ exporters much business, opened the doors to competing nations and achieved little to change the chosen path of the Bainimarama Government.
Perhaps the Network might seek to champion much more to normalise the NZ/Fiji relationship than what was contained in the Minister’s announcement. The Australian Government seems ready to get its relationship with Fiji onto a fast track to re-engage with Fiji and restore full diplomatic ties. Can NZ match that? As exporters we should certainly try as we have been paying the price for the current diplomatic stand off.
Perhaps a trade mission next year to reopen doors to lost business opportunities is something the Network might like to consider.
In keeping with the Network’s vision to double Pacific trade within 5 years, opening trade doors with Fiji is worthwhile and in keeping with one of the aims of the Government’s business growth agenda to increase exports from 30% to 40% of GDP by 2025.